What people forget is that this is a very different culture. They/We come in and try to interpret local behaviours from our set of cultural ideas. This just doesnt work!
Here are some basic differences:
Many dominican men are polygamous. Some men have 3 or more women with kids who they support and sometimes more they see on the side secretly. It really doesnt seem to be a big deal. In the lower classes marriages rarely seem to be formalized. Many women have multiple boyfriends but it is kept a big secret and is considered slutty.
North Americans believe in one man one woman and anything else is "evil". Even the idea of casually dateing two women isnt considered acceptable.
Dominicans have color that are very difficult for them to transend. Marrying up in color is a big deal. Straight hair is a really big deal. First question grandma asks: pelo bueno o pelo malo (sorry about my spelling)
White North Americans do not usually spend a lot of time checking the precise skin tone of future spouses. Imagine discussing exactly how white your girlfriend is? Is it permi-tan? clear? translucent? or if her hair is curly or straight.
Dominicans have a loose class system based on family name, skin color, and money. Some guy who makes it big is still low class even if he drives a 100KUS jeepeta and everyone knows it. Those who live here can spot them from 100m away
Dominicans value loyalty more than honesty. This does NOT mean that they dont value honesty. It is just that when the conflict comes between the two dominicans will choose to be loyal rather than honest. Additionally, dominicans will deny an obvious truth in the interest of being loyal. You can see this after any traffic accident.
Dominicans are a clannish, community-based people who are VERY attached to family, neighborhood, and hometown. Family importance is pretty obvious here. Dominicans leagues in NYC form baseball teams by hometown in the DR. Dominicans who have lived 25 years in santo domingo still are considered local to the town they were born in and must return there to vote. It is rare to find a dominican who moves from one town to another (excluding city migration). If they do you have to wonder why? did they have problems in the last town? Although it would be second generation now, note that towns like sosua and cabereta are largely populated by people who just up and moved there.
There are many many more but this post is long enough already. Try to see how these differences can drastically change your perception of relationships here.
This is NOT a complaint about dominicans this is some of my observations on the cultural differences between how i was raised and where i live now. I love this country and its people. This place is my home and I CHOOSE to live here. Many but not all of these differences i have also adopted as my own as well
My observations are based almost entirely on life in one small town. I would expect santiago/santo domingo to be different. please post your observations
Comments/disagreements are welcomed. if you have been here twice on vacation to an AI, dont bother.
100% correct, couldn't have put it better myself.
Originally Posted by sjh
I always get a chuckle out of some of the stuff people post on here.
Why is it that the people that live and work in the DR and have integrated all sing the same song? Because that's how it is, we know because we live and breath it every day, some of us have been living and breathing it for many years here.
A perfect example is someone I know that once lived in Sosua and moved to Santo Domingo to live and work amongst Dominicans. That person was blown away with how little they knew about the DR and how things "really" work. When they went back to Sosua to visit, all of a sudden so many things made sense.
I'll say it again, most expats and 99% of tourists are pretty clueless how many aspects of this country really work. Fact!
Most expats don't need more than one hand to count their Dominican friends. Fact!
I have lost count of the amount of single girls (all classes) I know that have "patrocinadores" (sponsors) married men that look after them. Fact!
I would guess that 75% of the Dominican guys that I know (all social classes, married and dating) have girlfriends, some more than one. Fact!
sjh, excellent post, you are spot on with your observations. Fact!
I think Shad has hit the nail on the head with his observations...more so...when there is a language barrier, ALL of these differences in culture are aggravated 1000 times more...
Hey, my husband and I have known each other for almost 3 years now, and I still have trouble with some of those differences...and we SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE!!!!
Yes, it is very interesting to read how much most developing countries have in common. Polygamous men, close families and friends, etc. I grew up in a very similar environment and lived in it for 21 years until I came to the US and got spoiled. My father lived with several women and had 5 children total with a few of them (well, the ones I know of ). Women who live with such men know what is going on and in a lot of cases are actually friends with their other girlfriends. And, yes, my family and friends did not want to see me dating a foreigner (American man who became my husband). Most women where I used to live do it for money. There are a lot of con artists in my former country unfortunately. I guess that is why this subject is bothering me quite a bit.
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I saw a fascinating article the other day and i wish i still had the link. I think it was from a psychology journal. I will quote/paraphrase as best i can:
It is often better for a woman to have a half, one third, or even a tenth of a successful man than to have the full share of one poor man.
Being a man, i had never really thought about polygamy from that point of view but it makes sense. Lets say you are a poor but attractive woman and you get picked up by some guy who will support you at 15K a month. Thats a heck of a lot better than shareing a 7K salary with some loser.
I know of several men who when they pick up a new concubine, they build them a nice house to go with the deal.
Any woman who settles for half, one third, or even a tenth of a man, whether he is successful or not, can build them a house or not, has no self respect, self esteem or dignity...in any country!!!!
I feel very strongly about this subject...I'm gonna shut up now!!!!
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Well, I personally never cared if he has a lot of money and if he builds me a house. I have my own. But, yes, I would rather be with someone who is successful, intelligent and fun especially if I truly love him in addition than be with some guy just because he is nice and faithful. That is why I got along with the Dominican man I was dating just fine.
Alyonka, Musicqueen: you are a successful woman with a future, that makes a big difference.
If you are a woman with no cash, no education, and no property and live in a country largely populated by men who are not finacailly stable you might feel differently.
Now you meet some nice charming man who is willing to set up a long term relationship.....
I see lots of girls here who are just looking for someone responsible to be attached to. even if they have to share him. There are maybe 20 "good" girls here to every one responsible man. even $$ issues aside, It makes a huge competion. why would you even want to bother spending time with the losers?
and please dont shut up, I havent had a good arguement with you for years
You know I actually don't bother compeating with any of these girls. I did not bother doing it when I lived in a developing country either. I never needed this crap in my life - too many other more interesting things to do. But what I noticed about those successful men - they don't want poor needy girls either. They are the ones who want a successful woman with career, cash and education. Because to be with someone like that is REALLY good for their ego. They hate paying for sex. All men do. They want to be loved for who they are just the same way anyone else does.